Amazon Isn’t Liable for Defective Marketplace Sale (No Thanks to Section 230)–Erie Insurance v. Amazon

A buyer purchased an LED headlamp in Amazon’s marketplace from a third party merchant (“Dream Light”) and gave it as a gift. The batteries allegedly malfunctioned and caused a fire in the gift-receiver’s house. The home insurer paid $313k+ for…

Section 230 Protects Tor Project from Liability for Tragic Drug Overdose–Seaver v. Estate of Cazes

This case involves the tragic death of a 13 year old boy from ingesting an illegal opioid (U-47700) he bought via the dark web. Allegedly, the boy used a Tor browser to find and purchase the drug. Among other defendants,…

Court Rejects Service of Process Via Amazon Messaging--Noco v. Chang

Court Rejects Service of Process Via Amazon Messaging–Noco v. Chang

This is a trademark infringement lawsuit. Plaintiff alleges that defendant improperly uses plaintiff’s brand name to sell infringing or counterfeit products “entirely online through [an] Amazon merchant account.” Defendant used the merchant account named “Co2Crea,” and defendant also applied to…

Airbnb Gets Mixed Results in Challenge to Boston’s Anti-Airbnb Law–Airbnb v. Boston

Boston enacted a law against short-term housing rentals that included these provisions: (1) a $300/violation/day fine for booking illegal short-term rentals (the “penalties” provision), (2) a city-wide ban on booking agents that don’t honor notice-and-takedown or verify vendor licenses (the…

Wisconsin Supreme Court Fixes a Bad Section 230 Opinion—Daniel v. Armslist

Wisconsin Supreme Court Fixes a Bad Section 230 Opinion—Daniel v. Armslist

In 2018, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals issued a bizarre opinion suggesting that plaintiffs could avoid Section 230 by targeting the service’s design and operation. The authoring judge seemed confident that he had spotted a statutory interpretation flaw that hundreds…

New Essay: The Complicated Story of FOSTA and Section 230

New Essay: The Complicated Story of FOSTA and Section 230

I’m pleased to announce my essay, The Complicated Story of FOSTA and Section 230. This essay tries to simplify a very complicated set of topics and summarize it in a fairly short and readable piece. I hope this essay provides one-stop-shopping…

Ninth Circuit Chunks Another Section 230 Ruling—HomeAway v. Santa Monica (Catch-up Post)

I’m finally blogging this Airbnb/HomeAway 230 ruling from 6 weeks ago. Why so long? Honestly, I lacked the emotional fortitude to blog it. The outcome isn’t novel—it reaches the same conclusion as the Airbnb v. San Francisco ruling from 2016 (a…

Forming an Online Contract May Be Harder Than Tough Mudder’s Salmon Ladder

This case reaches a relatively non-controversial outcome. It rejects an arbitration clause in an online TOS. Still, how the court reaches that conclusion should set off warning bells for everyone trying to impose arbitration in an online TOS. The bar…

Copyright Lawsuits Over Product Shots Are Stupid--eTrailer v. Automatic Equipment

Copyright Lawsuits Over Product Shots Are Stupid–eTrailer v. Automatic Equipment

The plaintiff is a retailer of “motor vehicle accessories.” The defendant manufactures towing supplies and has previously distributed its goods to the plaintiff. The plaintiff created product shots and obtained copyright registrations for some of them. On the right is…

Section 230 Applies to ADA Closed Captioning Claims–National Federation of the Deaf v. Harvard

Harvard publishes a lot of video online, both on servers it operates and through third-party services like YouTube. Only some of that video has “timely, accurate closed captioning.” The National Federation of the Deaf sued Harvard for ADA violations and…